Top American counterterrorism officials on Thursday said there was no credible or specific intelligence pointing to a current threat to the United States related to the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel or the ensuing war.
However, intelligence officials were still assessing the potential impact inside the United States of a Hamas call for protests in the next few days.
“We’re also aware of information on the internet about a Hamas call for action or demonstrations,” Christopher A. Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said on Thursday. “And we’re working to confirm whether there’s any validity to that information.” Mr. Wray was speaking during a seminar hosted by the Secure Community Network, an organization that provides consultation and support on safety matters to Jewish communities across North America.
“We cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas, or other foreign terrorist organizations, could exploit the conflict to call on their supporters to conduct attacks here on our own soil,” he said.
Monitoring for threats involves sifting through rhetoric online and looking for information that indicates a specific plan, like details about a time and place, and assessing whether any purported plotters have the capability to carry out an attack, a Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said during a call with reporters on Thursday evening.
Since the Hamas attacks on Israel on Saturday, U.S. counterterrorism officials have been reaching out to thousands of state and local law enforcement officers and religious leaders to discuss the potential impact of the attacks inside the United States. This includes sharing intelligence and offering guidance and assistance in shoring up security at mosques and synagogues and other public gathering places where people could be at risk.
On Thursday, officials from the F.B.I., the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center held a call with about 4,000 law enforcement officers from around the country, a homeland security official said. The official, who was authorized to speak only on condition of anonymity to share sensitive details, said participation was extraordinarily high, an indication of the broad sense of urgency on security issues around the country.
“The reality in which we are gathered today is this: Jewish people in our country and across the world are again traumatized, again afraid for their own safety and for the safety of their loved ones,” Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the Homeland Security secretary, said on Thursday during a speech to a group of sports leaders hosted by the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism.
Hate crimes against Jewish people and institutions in the United States were already on the rise, Mr. Wray said, and had continued to do so since the Hamas attacks. Over the weekend, Mr. Wray said, the F.B.I. relayed a tip about threats to some faith-based community centers, including a Jewish Senior Services Center in Connecticut.
“We immediately kicked into action and worked with partners in that area to mitigate that threat to those communities and ensure our faith-based partners had what they needed,” Mr. Wray said.